6 Quick Tips for Gainesville Landscapes in Winter
As the seasons change, so should your Gainesville lawn maintenance action plan. We have compiled a few tips that will keep your lawn in great shape during the winter months. Feel free to share this with your neighbors as well! That way, the whole neighborhood can have beautiful landscapes this winter.
1. Procrastinate on your Winter Pruning
Most every winter will cause some dieback on certain plants in North Florida. How low the temperatures get and what plants you have in your Gainesville yard determines how much winter pruning there is to do, but we all have some. Crape Myrtles, Muhly Grasses, Hydrangea, Flax Lilies, Ginger, and Hibiscus are just a few of the plants that may need to have the dead leaves and branches pruned back before spring. Those brown forst-damaged leaves and branches do serve a purpose though, as they protect the plant from future frosts causing more damage - even though they can be unsightly.
What's best for the plant long-term may not always be what's best for appeal in the short-term - but we recommend waiting to do your winter pruning until after the last frost (late February). Pruning the winter dieback off tells the plant that winter is over and it's time to rejuvenate new growth for spring. There aren't many times that procrastinating pays off - but this is certainly one of them!
2. Keep your Deck Raised throughout Winter
It's common for lawns to get mowed shorter during winter as the growth slows down. This typically is well-intended, trying to keep a clean-cut appearance, however, the lower mowing also weakens the grass and root system - causing more frost damage and slower recovery in spring. The rule of thumb to remember is the taller the lawn is cut, the deeper the roots grow for St. Augustine lawns.
3. Reduce Irrigation Settings, but Keep it on
Gainesville lawns never go completely dormant because of our warm spells throughout winter, but they do not need as much water as winter or even fall. We recommend cutting back to 1x per week with about 50% of the watering time as used in summer. This keeps the lawn healthy, but also keeps winter broadleaf weeds and fungus growth to a minimum through the winter.
4. Overseed with Winter Rye
If you want to see your lawn look the best it can over the holidays, overseed your lawn with winter rye. It is bright green all winter long and will give you the lushest lawn on the street - for as long as it stays cold. We offer this service and it's only about $200 for an average sized lawn, so give us a call if you would like an estimate.
5. Be Prepared to Cover Tropical plants During Frosts
Unexpected freezes can devastate tender and tropical planted landscapes and gardens. You can protect these plants from the freeze by using a frost cloth.
6. Don't fertilize with Nitrogen
Nitrogen in lawn fertilizer pushes new growth, which is great for spring and summer, but in winter can create new tender growth that gets hit hard by cold snaps like we are experiencing this week. Potassium to feed the lawn's roots and soil ammendaments are the best additions to your lawn through February.
If we can be of help with any of your winter Gainesville lawn maintenance chores - or the surrounding areas of Alachua, Jonesville, and Newberry - please don't hesitate to reach out to us at (352) 378-LAWN or filling out our form at the top of the page!